Nine Expected To Seek Rights Discount As Result Of Australian Open Delay

Australian Open 2019 General Coverage General view of patrons in the precinct on Sunday 20 January 2019. Photo commissioned and owned by Tennis Australia. AO Signage
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

New reports suggest Nine Entertainment Co is likely to look for a discount from Tennis Australia for the delay of the 2021 Australian Open due to it defaulting on its broadcast rights agreement.

According to the Nine-owned The Sydney Morning Herald, Nine is concerned the delay could affect the launch and size of audiences for one of its best performing television shows, Married at First Sight.

Nine declined B&T’s offer to comment further on this story.

Citing industry sources briefed on the broadcaster’s strategy, The Herald reports Nine will seek a reduction on its $300 million five-year deal with Tennis Australia.

Once the final date of the major tennis tournament is announced, this deal includes events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hobart. Tennis sources told the outlet an 8 February date is the earlies the tournament will start.

According to The Herald, Nine has grounds to pursue a discount as a rescheduled tournament would not meet its contracted dates. It is unclear how much money Nine is hoping to receive.

With the upcoming Australian Open operating under strict guidelines, Tennis Australia is expected to foot a quarantine bill of around $40 million.

The Herald reports that, under the guidelines, players will be allowed to leave quarantine for five hours per day to train on the courts, in the gym, and while eating at Melbourne Park.

It is reported that Tennis Australia will receive rent relief from The Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust to support them as they try to foot the bill for “hundreds of players and support staff”.

The renegotiation of the tennis rights would follow a successful revision of Nine’s NRL rights, achieved earlier this year.

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